Work together to spur maritime industry, says minister

Danial Norjidi

Talents must be drawn at all levels, from local businesses, research institutions and government agencies, to work together and complement one another to spur the maritime sector to greater heights.

This was highlighted by Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohammad Yusof while delivering the keynote address at the World Maritime Day Forum and Exhibition at The Rizqun International Hotel yesterday.

The minister noted some key milestones achieved by the MPABD.

They included the conclusion of Asset Purchase and Land Lease Agreement with Muara Port Company Private Limited; the issuance of a Licence to Operate (LTO) to Muara Port Company Private Limited as the port operator; and the authorisation of Classic Reliance Bureau Company as a domestic class body responsible for the inspection and survey of domestic registered vessels to ensure and to meet safety and compliance standards. Another milestone was the issuance of Public Licences for the registration of all shipping agents, freight forwarders, stevedorage and transport service providers for all ports in Brunei Darussalam.

“MPABD has entered its second year of establishment and I must say, it is at a time of crucial point. This statutory body is still progressing to fully function not only as a maritime and ports regulator, but also to function as a promoter and facilitator of the local maritime industry,” said the minister.

“It is therefore timely, for MPABD to play a key role in transforming our maritime and ports industry through its innovation promoting policies for this industry to remain competitive, continuously relevant and sustainable in this digital era.”

Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohammad Yusof touring the exhibition. PHOTO: DANIAL NORJIDI

The minister mentioned his participation in a policy roundtable forum at the 26th Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress held in Singapore last week, and shared that one of the highly debated topics was the challenges in preparing for the 4th Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0).

“Technology-driven trends have been rapidly taking place in the transport and logistics sector,” he said.

“The wide applications of new technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), and in the not so far future, 5G and artificial intelligence (AI) in the maritime transport sector, are now being trialed and piloted within the Asia region. Fully automated port terminals, automated wharfs, and electric automated guided vehicles are among some of the use case examples, being carried out by neighbouring countries in this region.”

“I strongly encourage MPABD to keep track of such best practice examples in further developing our maritime and ports sector through the provision of more sustainable, reliable and efficient world class services.

Research and development, innovation and use of technology has undeniably become part and parcel of any industry. The maritime industry is definitely no exception.” He noted the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in its Strategic Plan 2018–2023 has set a key Strategic Direction to integrate new and advancing technologies in the regulatory framework.

This involves balancing the benefits derived from new and advancing technologies against safety and security concerns, the impact on the environment and on international trade facilitation, the potential costs to the industry, and finally their impact on personnel, both on board and ashore.

Touching on the theme chosen for World Maritime Day by the IMO this year, ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’, the minister said that it provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to highlight the significant contribution of women all over the world to the maritime sector.

“For an industry to flourish and the nation’s economy to grow, we need to engage all of its talents, all of its human resources, at all levels. This is where the engagement from all stakeholders on a ‘Whole-of-Nation’ approach, including the private sector is also very crucial.”

To achieve a shipping industry that is renowned, efficient and competitive, the ‘Whole-of-Nation’ approach is much needed, he added.